Archive for January 31, 2010

The Broken heart- Trigger response

A couple of days ago I wrote the post Dying of a Broken Heart???



I have of course ( as is my nature) researched grief, grief counselling , drugs you name it . The grief that overwhelms is supposed to lessen? Time heals and all that – but in my research I have discovered the triggers.

Apparently , as I understand it, our brain when we experience something new such as intense emotion, for example, a very joyful event ( maybe the birth of your child), a great love, great anger, fright, terror and death in its varying degrees, the brain takes on board the information and at the same time notes and files away the surrounding sights , smells , sounds etc that accompany that new happenstance.

You can apparently be blithely going about your everyday business when you may- do , see, smell , hear one of those pieces of information – stored by our brain . Those stored bits of information “triggers the brain” to bring to the fore of our consciousness everything that was connected with that piece of information- the sorrow, joy, anger, fear or what have you .

The trick is apparently to recognize the negative triggers, avoid them where possible and understand the process.

Sometimes the triggers bring back moments of great happiness and joy- that is a good thing. Hopefully we can access them when we have need, but even then there is a risk. For example it is no good to look for escape in rememberance of holding your child for the first time when you have lost your child , that trigger can backfire on you. You search for the “happiness triggers” warily .

When triggers bring great anger or sadness it can be “debilitating” ( that word actually is one of my triggers)

It is a bit like fire, you know not to put your hand in the flames because the reaction is painful, so you are supposed to do the same with your “painful triggers” identify them and put them in quarantine .

Drugs can block the triggers until the body and time can heal – maybe for some , but I think I would have to be totally put under for the foreseeable future to block all my triggers.

Understanding why things are happening helps , but it doesn’t stop them happening. You just try and stay away from “triggers”

I know I will never go to my favourite florist shop in person ever again since it is across from that damnable Calvary Cemetery . I know that I will never go near 7th Street again , The trigger of that church, some parishioners and a priest brings on a plethora of emotions, all of them intense.

I will be staying away from two local banks due to their “employees” even if one is my own bank . I will never if at all possible ever set foot in the Cleveland Clinic , I would have to be drugged to oblivion. As for Drs……. ( Thoughts about them will be coming later)

I have thrown away and burned clothes that I wore in that ICU , I have burned photos of people who have caused great pain so I don’t come across their likeness. I cannot bear the thought of ever watching “Everybody Loves Raymond” again. I have tried to destroy or avoid my “known triggers”. Yes! I know which triggers cause pain!

The triggers are “legion” – they can be as mundane as filling a hot water bottle – the very thing that once gave me comfort initially when I was dealing with the diagnosis of the obscenity . And more recently the filling of hot bottles almost hourly for my son in Texas so he could deal with the pain on his joints and muscles because of the SGN35 . Even the bloody kettle , I have to get another one that is not the same model.

A simple act yesterday , not thinking, and deciding I needed some warmth for an aching shoulder set off a cavalcade of raw emotion, just the act of filling the hot water bottle .

Logically I knew why it was happening but that didn’t help. The triggers sometimes come in the form of flashbacks . I know I can never cook “stewed steak” again or “grilled salmon and asparagus” . I will never cook for or celebrate Thanksgiving or have another Christmas Tree in this house.
I stay away from people , those I care about and who care about me , because their kindness and concern triggers!

I am surrounded by triggers. It is painful, I understand why, and how it happens but it happens just the same and the physical ripple effect is noted by a breaking heart.

January 31, 2010 at 2:15 pm 14 comments



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January 2010